My son has been on skates since he was three and started playing hockey soon after that. Hockey has become his all-consuming passion. For most of those early years, his dad (my husband) was his head coach. This was beautiful to watch, as they shared their love for the game and developed their skills together. Last year, we switched to a different hockey club. Now, our son is learning from new coaches, who bring a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to improve his game. He’s being challenged and supported in different ways that are leading to fresh learnings and growth.
The same is true for us: folks come into our lives at different times with their unique wisdom to share.
I love thinking back on all the coaches, educators, mentors, thought partners, bosses, sounding boards, and friends who have shaped my skills and mindset. Each came when I needed them and shared what they had to give.
The Wisdom Of Coaching For Nonprofits
You and your nonprofit deserve the benefit of an external perspective and an advisor who can support your growth. Maybe you can see yourself in one of these stories…
When she took on her first Executive Director role, Cinaiya had confidence and experience, but no peers to “think aloud” or problem-solve with. AltruNext was providing grant support for the organization, which soon evolved into monthly strategy sessions. Cinaiya would bring her most burning questions or challenges, and we would strategize together about possible next steps. Topics included staffing issues, governance best practices, and preparing for a strategic planning process. As a result, the organization conducted a strategic planning process, strengthened its governance, and reworked its staff structure. The organization is more effective and raising more than four times as much in financial support each year. (Chicago Youth Programs, IL)
Serving as the Chief Philanthropy Officer of a large cultural institution is always a challenging job. Add in a global pandemic and a $52M capital campaign and it can be downright scary. Nikki had deep experience and great instincts but no campaign background and a very small team. AltruNext provided “as-needed” coaching to Nikki and her growing development team each step of the way. Sometimes that entailed on-site visits and trainings, and sometimes it simply meant that Nikki could “phone a friend” when something unexpected popped up. Through this coaching support, the development team has raised 87% of their campaign goal and grown from a team of three to a department of eight. (Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, FL)
As Development Director, Carre confidently led her small nonprofit through a capital campaign, but then found herself wondering what the next chapter would look like. After all, the organization just raised more money than ever before and wanted to continue this growth trajectory so they could expand their impact. Carre reached out to AltruNext and we embarked upon a series of four sessions with specific goals to review her annual fund development plan, strategize about next steps with the major donors (good stewardship!), and plan how to strategically grow the development team through clear job descriptions. In the end, Carre had a focused annual fundraising plan, new major gift tactics to try, and a list of grants to pursue. (Freedom’s Promise, TN)
In her role as Senior Director of Development, Cindy felt her organization wasn’t maximizing their major gifts potential because they lacked clear strategy, systems, and accountability structures. She asked AltruNext to provide a customized series of bimonthly sessions for the team. Together, we reviewed best practices within major gifts management, then determined how to use them in this particular context. Between each session, the team had assignments and then reported back on their progress. After three months, Cindy and her colleagues had a clear, actionable plan, a cadence for accountability meetings, and a process to capture these activities in their CRM. (Leukemia Research Foundation, IL)
Whether it's youth hockey or nonprofit leadership, a coach can help you balance the skills you need for the moment, with wisdom that comes from experience and perspective.
Coaching can be more effective when you have some thoughts about what sort of guidance would be most helpful.
Try these prompts to consider what is most important for you or your organization right now: In what areas are you seeking professional growth? Where do you need an external perspective to help you identify blind spots or potential gaps in your thinking? What challenges do you wish you could talk about with a confidential thought partner?